Low- and No-Sodium Foods and Beverages in the U.S.

Packaged Facts
May 1, 2010
173 Pages - SKU: LA2521461
Countries covered: United States

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Low-sodium/salt and no sodium/salt foods and beverages are a major food trend for 2010. Although such foods have been around for decades, most have not met with enthusiastic consumer response because of taste issues or insufficient concern on the part of buyers about the benefits of reducing sodium intake. Consumer awareness of the benefits of reducing salt (sodium chloride) and sodium in the diet is high at the beginning of 2010. In addition, food and beverage manufacturers are leading the charge in renovating familiar and popular products to contain less sodium. Some food and beverage manufacturers are doing this silently and in increments, gradually reducing the salt content of their products without alerting the consumer. Others display the reduced or low-sodium content in banner ads prominently on labels, to call attention to the product containing less sodium than the original.

An estimated 75% of salt in the average U.S. diet derives from processed foods and beverages, and restaurant food. In addition to enhancing flavor, salt plays a critical role in texture and safety of foods, as well as being used as a binder, color developer, fermenting agent and preservative in prepared and processed foods and beverages. The recommended daily intake (RDI) in the U.S. for sodium is 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day (about one teaspoon of salt), but the average U.S. citizen consumes an estimated 3,800 mg of sodium per day. Consumers who eat predominantly processed foods or fast-food restaurant products may easily consume 10,000 mg of sodium per day.

The human craving for salt is natural and necessary, because this is a nutrient essential for maintaining healthy extracellular fluid volume and balance in the body, which are necessary for life. Sodium chloride has a unique taste and efforts to mimic it, such as with potassium chloride, have not been very successful. A major area of activity for suppliers of salt alternatives to manufacturers of the new wave of reduced and low-sodium foods and beverages is research on ingredients and technologies to compensate for reduced salt that will create tasty products.

The U.S. market for low-sodium/low-salt, no sodium/no salt and no sodium or salt added products was estimated at $21.8 billion in 2009. Of this amount, approximately $16.6 billion comprises reduced or low-sodium/salt foods and beverages. Each year, new categories of products with low-sodium/salt or reduced sodium/salt tags enter the market, and between 2002 and 2007, there was nearly a 100% increase in the number of food and beverage products introduced to the U.S. market that had a low-sodium/salt or no sodium/salt claim. From 2005 to 2009, the number of introductions increased only about 2.4%, with the largest number of products--282--introduced in 2007.

Several consumer and health organizations have called for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to revisit the 50-year-old ruling that salt is a generally-recognized-as-safe (GRAS) product. These agencies wish to see salt listed as a food additive and/or changes in labeling to warn consumers about salt's association with hypertension. However, large-scale studies on the relationship between sodium and salt consumption have generated mixed results as to the detrimental effects of excessive sodium intake and cardiovascular disease in the general population. It appears that, with the exception of salt-sensitive individuals (who may comprise up to 25% of the population), there is little evidence that dietary sodium raises blood serum sodium. However, 25% of the U.S. population is a lot of people. In addition, evidence is emerging to suggest excess sodium is implicated in the development of kidney damage, osteoporosis and stomach cancer.

Low- and No-Sodium Foods and Beverages in the U.S. discusses key trends affecting the marketplace, notable product introductions, trends driving growth, technological challenges and advances, and consumer demographics. The report profiles major marketers of reduced and low-sodium food and beverage products and suppliers of salt and salt substitutes to food manufacturers, as well as innovative companies in both of these sectors.

Read an excerpt from this report below.



Additional Information

Market Insights: A Selection From The Report


Low-Sodium/Salt and No Sodium/Salt Foods and Beverages Held 2.8% of Total U.S. Food and Beverage Market in 2009

Nonetheless, given the above caveats, Packaged Facts believes, based on a consensus among manufacturers of low-sodium/salt and no-sodium/salt products, that the U.S. market for products with these claims was approximately $21.8 billion in 2009. Of this amount, approximately $16.6 billion was contributed by low-sodium/salt foods and beverages and the remainder by no-sodium/salt products. Low-sodium/salt and no-sodium salt foods represent approximately 2.8% of the total U.S. market for foods and beverages, which is estimated about approximately $600 billion in 2009. [Figure 3-1]

Leading Low-Sodium Content Product Categories

The top 10 product categories in the U.S. in 2009 for low-sodium/salt and no-sodium salt foods by reports filed were:

  • Functional drinks
  • Canned soup
  • Other savory snacks
  • Frozen ready meals
  • Carbonates
  • Fruit
  • Wet cooking sauces
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Potato chips

Number of Low-Sodium/Salt and No Sodium/Salt Foods and Beverages Introduced to the U.S. Market Increases 9% from 2005 to 2009

From 2005 to 2009, Packaged Facts analyzed data from ProductLaunch Analytics (PLA), a Datamonitor service, to determine U.S. product reports for foods and nonalcoholic beverages bearing a tag or claim for low-sodium/salt or no-sodium salt. Product reports with these claims increased 4.2%, from 212 total low-sodium/salt and no-sodium/salt claims in 2005 to 221 such claims in 2009. [Table 3-1 and Figure 3-2]

In the News


Low- and No-Sodium Foods and Beverages Emerge as Major Culinary Trend

New York, April 12, 2010 American consumer awareness of the benefits of reducing salt (sodium chloride) and sodium in their diet has reached a nationwide crescendo, making low-sodium/salt and no sodium/salt foods and beverages a major food trend for 2010, according to Low- and No-Sodium Foods and Beverages in the U.S. by market research publisher Packaged Facts.

Representing 3% of the $600 billion total U.S. market for foods and beverages, Packaged Facts estimates the market for low-sodium/salt and no-sodium/salt products in the U.S. market reached $22 billion in 2009. Low-sodium/salt foods and beverages comprised $17 billion of the total and no-sodium/salt products accounted for the remainder.

As the quality of these products improves, they are gaining in popularity with consumers from a variety of backgrounds beyond the traditional niche consumer demographics (i.e., adults age 55 and over, African Americans, and women) that are typically associated with a predilection towards low- and no-sodium foods and beverages.

“Most consumers recognize the health benefits of foods and beverages beyond basic nutrition. And more importantly, a growing number realize that they can influence their own health by cutting back on processed and packaged foods and by reducing the amount of salt added to foods prepared at home,” says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. “And though reducing sodium intake may not always be a consumer’s primary strategy for a healthy diet, if good-tasting, lower-sodium options are available at retail consumers will buy them.”

As part of the reduced sodium trend, some retailers have started “low-sodium” food aisles to assist consumers with locating the options available to them. Sometimes the lower-sodium foods have two placements in the stores: one in a specialty aisle and the second with the same category of mainstream foods.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of foodservice operators and food manufacturers are making a point of offering low-sodium meals or taking salt out of their products. Recent examples include an announcement by PepsiCo that it has initiated production of a new version of its Lay’s potato chips that contains a “designer salt” to make the chips healthier, in addition to plans by Kraft Foods to reduce sodium by an average of 10% across its North American portfolio of food products over the next two years. Packaged Facts pegs palatability as the key for consumers and manufacturers to such efforts, emphasizing that one of the most successful strategies for creating low-sodium alternatives is the gradual reduction of the sodium content of foods and beverages over time so the consumer is not abruptly confronted with a product that tastes substantially different than what the buyer is accustomed to.

Low- and No-Sodium Foods and Beverages in the U.S. discusses key trends affecting the marketplace, notable product introductions, trends driving growth, technological challenges and advances, and consumer demographics. The report profiles major marketers of reduced and low-sodium food and beverage products and suppliers of salt and salt substitutes to food manufacturers, as well as innovative companies in both of these sectors.

About Packaged Facts - Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet products and services, and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services.


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